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Oscars 2018: Best Visual Effects Longlist

They called this the list of “eligibles” but technically every movie is eligible for Visual Effects (even Book Club). This is more the longlist, of the 20 they’re deemed worthy of inclusion.

And then in about two weeks they’ll knock this list down to ten. And from that, five will be nominated.

Pretty efficient system. Generally hard to find fault with their choices. Usually there’s some weird stuff that gets in the final ten, but it’s only like one or two of them, and typically it’s from people who are respected within the branch. But that’s putting Descartes before the horse. And he’s just going, “Is it, though?”

Anyway, here are the 20 eligible films for Best Visual Effects:

Ant-Man and the Wasp
Aquaman
Avengers: Infinity War
Black Panther
Bumblebee
Christopher Robin
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
First Man
Incredibles 2
Isle of Dogs
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
Mary Poppins Returns
Mission: Impossible – Fallout
Mortal Engines
The Nutcracker and the Four Realms
Paddington 2
A Quiet Place
Ready Player One
Solo: A Star Wars Story
Welcome to Marwen

Jesus. Look at all these CGI fests.

Can we nominate both Fallout and First Man now based solely on the practical effects alone?

We have three Marvel movies on this list. In my opinion, Black Panther shouldn’t even be shortlisted because I thought the effects in that movie were really substandard for Marvel. But they’ll 100% shortlist it because it’s one of the most critically and financially successful movies of the year. Ant-Man should be shortlisted, and I expect it to be. Avengers… are they really gonna leave that one out? That’s a tough one. They might get shortlisted three times.

Aquaman — D.C. hasn’t even gotten shortlisted yet, Wonder Woman included. Possible, but unlikely is my guess. I don’t think anyone’s looked at the D.C. movies and said, “Man, those effects looked nice.” So maybe, because the water? But likely not.

Bumblebee — they have to shortlist it, right? Maybe they don’t. They left the last Transformers movie off, so maybe they’re done with the franchise. I’m seeing the movie this weekend, so I’ll get a better idea of where it’s at. My gut tells me it’s all the same people who animated the others, so I suspect that alone puts it in contention for a shortlist.

Christopher Robin — watch them shortlist it. Probably shouldn’t, but at this point who’s to say what amount of visual effects you really need to support your movie, right? I would say no, but also wouldn’t be surprised if it were.

Fantastic Beasts — the last one was shortlisted but not nominated. I’m guessing more of the same.

First Man — I liked the effects, but do they care about practical stuff anymore? They really did make you feel like you were on the moon. So that was cool. Rooting for this if for no other reason than it had less computers than the other movies.

Incredibles 2 — the entire film is CGI. But sure, I guess?

Isle of Dogs — I guess once Kubo got nominated, this counts. Two animated movies this year. Interesting. Wonder if they shortlist either.

Jurassic World — watch them shortlist this. The last one was. The visual effects have nothing to do with narrative deficiency.

Mary Poppins — hard to see this not being nominated, let alone shortlisted. But I also haven’t seen it. I’m basing this on the last one and what they’d be doing visually in it. Though that is four potential Disney shortlisted films at the moment. Would they be cognizant of that?

Fallout — they didn’t shortlist the last one, so that would surprise me, though I’m all for anything with practical stunts. (I am also with Chris McQuarrie, who says there should be a Best Stunts Oscar. What’s one more award to not televise anyway?) My guess is no, but I’ll be very happy if they did.

Mortal Engines — really? It’s Peter Jackson, so don’t rule out a shortlist, but man, doesn’t this look like it’s gonna be a huge bomb? I bet most people don’t even know this is coming out. (And it’s coming out NEXT WEEK.) I’ll say no and see if it gets shortlisted on Jackson’s name/team alone.

Nutcracker — they won’t shortlist this. There’s no way. I believe we live in a just world, and literally everything I’ve mentioned previously deserves to be on a shortlist more than this.

Paddington 2 — Well, if they nominated The Revenant…

A Quiet Place — Please don’t shortlist this. Please don’t.

Ready Player One — Definite shortlist, possible nomination. It’s Spielberg, and it looks great. BFG managed a shortlist. This should definitely manage one. They better not shortlist Jurassic World over this.

Solo — Don’t they always shortlist Star Wars? Come to think of it, don’t they always nominate Star Wars? This being left off would be the second time ever a Star Wars movie wasn’t nominated. The first was Revenge of the Sith, and that was a three-nominee category, back in ’05. So something to keep in mind as we go through this.

Welcome to Marwen — it’s dolls. But I don’t know just how they’re using the dolls. The Walk got shortlisted and I suspect Zemeckis’ team will earn enough respect for that at the very least. I gotta see it.

– – – – –

Okay, so looking at all that, let me start with the ones I feel pretty confident in saying they will not shortlist:

Christopher Robin
Paddington 2
The Nutcracker and the Four Realms
A Quiet Place

I’m not totally sold on no A Quiet Place, but for the love of god, is that really a movie with stellar effects? I’ll just be wrong on that. The other three, I think we all figure those are quick castaways based on the list as a whole.

Then, next batch that seem unlikely, but theoretically are possible:

Incredibles 2
Isle of Dogs
Mission: Impossible – Fallout
Mortal Engines

Fallout can probably be added to that first list, but some people may fight for it because of the practical effects. I don’t see it happening, personally. Incredibles 2 would break a huge barrier if it were nominated. It’s one thing that Kubo was nominated — that was stop motion… this is straight up animated. CG animation. What qualifies as effects there? Tough call, so let’s figure it doesn’t make the shortlist until it does. Isle of Dogs you have to consider because of Kubo, but it’s not as visually resplendent as Kubo, so I’m thinking it gets left off the shortlist. Mortal Engines is the one with the biggest possibility, because it’s Peter Jackson. But they left the last couple Hobbit movies off, and he didn’t direct it. So I’ll say no, figuring the fact that it’s gonna bomb will be the nail that does this one in.

That leaves us with twelve options for a shortlist. So really all I gotta do is knock two of them off. Let’s take a look:

Ant-Man and the Wasp
Aquaman
Avengers: Infinity War
Black Panther
Bumblebee
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
First Man
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
Mary Poppins Returns
Ready Player One
Solo: A Star Wars Story
Welcome to Marwen

My gut tells me Bumblebee doesn’t make the shortlist. I also wouldn’t put Aquaman, but I think, because Marvel has not gotten more than two films shortlisted, one of their movies will be left off. Which one, I don’t know. My gut says it’s Black Panther. Ant-Man does cool shrinking things and is all about the effects, and Avengers is just wall to wall effects, so Black Panther makes the most sense.

So, by default, that makes my shortlist guess:

Ant-Man and the Wasp
Aquaman
Avengers: Infinity War
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
First Man
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
Mary Poppins Returns
Ready Player One
Solo: A Star Wars Story
Welcome to Marwen

It’s tough saying both First Man and Marwen get on, being primarily dramas, but I think First Man does cool stuff and deserves it, and they’ll get it to the next round, and I feel like Zemeckis will manage a shortlist. Fallen Kingdom is dinosaurs, and theoretically could get left off, but I feel like it’ll manage it. Yeah… I feel like they’ll sneak Aquaman on there too. I think this is your shortlist.

If I can get 8 of these right, I’ll be ecstatic. I generally get 7 or 8, so if I’m right in there, I’ll be happy. Let’s see. I’m thinking two weeks from today is about when they do it. The 16th and 17th is when all those shortlists start popping up.

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2 responses

  1. MasonEvansSr

    I’m shocked that Annihilation missed.

    December 3, 2018 at 10:46 pm

    • OH CRAP, IT DID! What the hell, Academy VFX branch??

      (And I disagree with the blog, by the way. I’d’ve straight-up VOTED for Annihilation had it made it in the end.)

      December 3, 2018 at 11:57 pm

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